Our Approach to Winemaking
We farm all of our grapes. Because we farm more than 30 premier vineyards in Sonoma County through Bacchus, we are able to select a small number of those sites that best fit our winemaking program for Sanglier. The ability to directly monitor and manage our vines for irrigation, canopy structure, crop load, nutrient levels, and skin development ensures that by the time the grapes make it to the fermentation tanks, most of the work is done.
We harvest at night with headlamps when the fruit is cool, which gives us additional time for the cool delicate water-based skin extraction that takes place in the tanks before the temperatures rise and fermentation takes off.
We believe that good grapes make good wine so our focus is first and foremost in the vineyard. We steer away from manipulations in the winery unless there is a prevailing need.
We inoculate with a variety of cultured yeast strains for primary fermentation. From our experience with various yeasts over the years, we have homed in on a small set that always produces dry, clean, fault free, deeply complex, and aromatic wines from our vineyards. We do not inoculate for secondary fermentation as our winery maintains a healthy population of malolactic bacteria that always takes off and completes the job in barrel without interference.
We ferment our chardonnay in neutral french oak. We ferment all of our other wines in stainless steel. We treat new oak much as a cook would treat seasoning in their food: a little makes all the difference. Our particular favorites are Francoise Frere and Remond, but we do use others. Most of our barrels used in the aging process are neutral. We are not intransigent about the use or non-use of new oak, however. Some lots get no new wood. And for the first time in our history, we made a 100% new oak lot in 2015, our cabernet sauvignon from the Sonoma Coast.
For the most part we de-stem, although our syrah usually has some whole cluster. By walking and farming our vineyards we usually have a good idea of how we will treat the frut before it arrives at the winery.
For red wine skin extraction, we favor a light touch by mostly pumping-over with a gentle spinning irrigator. If we need more structure, we incorporate punch downs. Our sauvignon blanc gets a 24 hour skin contact after crush and before press in order to introduce more phenolics and texture into the wine. Our rosé is made by a traditional skin contact pressing.
More than anything, we respond to each lot as it presents itself. Our role is merely to help the grapes find their natural way through fermentation, transforming from delicious sweet juice into vibrant, fresh, balanced and elegant wine.